Gossip Girl IV: A New Hope

Last night’s Gossip Girl was rather peculiar.  The Blair/Nate/Grandpa Archibald plot?  A curious plot of deception and double-crossings involving Nate wanting to go to Columbia because he got in on his own, and Blair and Pop-pop Archibald wanting Nate at Yale so Blair could be a socialite and grandpa can still feel in control of the family legacy–except that it turns out that he turned Nate’s dad in to the SEC!  Muy escandaloso!  Perfectly fine as filler, I suppose, except that it tried to act like this was riveting political intrigue; instead, it felt over baked and underdeveloped (particularly in terms of Blair’s turn).  I mean, was there really no easier way than this to keep both Blair and Nate in NYC for the third season?  I’m just going to guess and say there was.

Added to that, the Seder dinner plot line played out like an equally overblown poor man’s comedy-of-errors dinner party.  Dan’s a cater waiter at the dinner to help pay for college, but Lily and Rufus are there and can’t know because Dan has pride!  Eeks!  Serena’s maybe-husband-due-to-a-debauched-night-in-Europe shows up, so Serena pretends she and Dan are back together (don’t worry, she’s not married, but she is totally crushing on her fauxsband)!  Yipes!  Eleanor Waldorf is sick of tradition and just wants to get her kosher eat on!  Gosh!

One particular sequence was shot and edited as if  the director of this week’s episode had just seen the dinner party scene at the end of the original The Thin Man.  All the tight shots of faces and quick cuts in conversation crave to be ZANY, SCREWBALL DRAMEDY!  Sadly, none of it’s particularly compelling.

Then, in the minor plots with characters that are momentarily entirely useless to everyone, Jenny continues to look like a depressed raccoon, but now she has a crush on a total butterface.  Chuck is so dramatically useless as a teenage billionaire that the best the screenwriters come up with is to have him apologize for forcing himself on Jenny from way back in the beginning of the first season.  I’m not saying that the apology wasn’t warranted, but I am saying that this show is clearly running on empty for ideas.  

That all said, I see a light at the end of the tepid tunnel:


Perhaps I’ve been overly harsh about the past few weeks, but this season has genuinely felt awkward.  It began rather strong, occasionally lurching about after a misstep, but still largely enjoyable.  The recent weeks, though, have felt like the show was stalling, as if the CW had ordered more episodes than the creators needed to tell their story.  Added to that, the juiciest moments–even those that might qualify as filler–have been dropped in such a rather abrupt and frustrating fashion (the teacher-Dan relationship and Chuck’s Eyes Wide Shut, in particular); what’s the bother in starting up an interesting story if you’re not willing to follow through?  Thankfully this promo seems to indicate that Gossip Girl is finally flexing its fun muscles again.

Chuck and Blair being zany amateur detectives!  Chuck and Blair knocking boots in the back of a limo!  Nate being angry at Chuck for knocking boots with Blair in the back of a limo!  This is precisely the kind of nonsense I’m talking about.  

And mostly this, though:


Looks like Georgina has found herself some Jesus!  I may, like Meryl Streep, have had my doubts in the past, but no longer!  I don’t care if it’s totally too soon to call it, and I end up eating my blog words in a week’s time.  Gossip Girl is back, y’all!!!

PS: Also, Vanessa appeared in a Dove commercial last night.  This was not an actual story in the episode, just an example of what happens when you become THAT character on the show.  You’re left to shill soap in a commercial.  Next week, expect Eric to appear in a Neutrogena ad.

4 Responses

  1. Yes, where is Eric? He doesn’t even appear to be living in his mother’s apartment, although Jenny clearly has the keys and has seemingly set up residence there (cue conversation with Chuck to remind us she doesn’t quite live there yet).

    Now I am wondering if Dan will decide to go to CUNY or NYU to stay in town and if Serena will discover that her vocation lies at FIT or Parsons. Meanwhile, teenage billionaires don’t really need to go to college and I’ve forgotten if Chuck even had time to apply this year, given all he’s been through (including the number of times his character changed completely this season).

    While I know that Rufus/Dan/Jenny are less well off than their ridiculously wealthy classmates, I have difficulty thinking of them as poor, or even middle-class enough for Dan to humiliate himself for a couple of hundred dollars (let alone for Lily and Rufus to let it happen). After all, his father pays tuition for a top prep school (probably the best part of 100K a year), they live in a loft in Dumbo or Williamsburg and own a gallery, and presumably the real estate that comes with it. Also Rufus manages to spend no time working and is supposed to be a moderately successful 1990s rock star. I know the point is the comparison of their very upper-middle class life with that of the American aristocracy, but for someone as proud as Dan, and with tuition at Yale that high, the few hundred he’d receive as a cater waiter on double time isn’t worth the costs to his ego. And just because he decides not to do it, doesn’t mean that the girl with him would lose her job (especially as she vanishes as soon as the episode starts).


  2. Excellent recap. And props for coining the term fauxsband.


  3. Oh Ben, how I love your recaps. In fact, I’ve pretty much stopped forming opinions about each episode until I read what you have to say.


  4. Loved your recap. Dorota countess storyline and Blair/Chuck limo scene if they follow through have the potential to be good again only if they follow through. Jenny is totally useless as a character *in Gossip Girl*, a show where nearly all characters are two dimensional, which says a lot about how uselessness her character is. I only hope there is no Jenny/Chuck storyline so I don’t have to hurl.


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